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Fire Building Methodology - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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Fire Building Methodology

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  • Fire Building Methodology

    We have had 4 firings, and I was wondering, how do you (anyone?, anyone?) build you fires - meaning do you build in the center, let it go to red coals, then move to the side? Or do you just build in the corner and leave the fire in one place? I have been working with the fire at the 10 o'clock position, and am getting to 900F+ on the dome, and about 500F on the 2 o'clock floor position - but I am finding that it takes a roaring fire to get the floor to that temp. I think I did a good job on building, as 16 hours after intial firing the dome was still at 224F, with the floor at 167F. I picked up a ratek RT-6 which has been invaluable in wokring thorugh 'heat management' ! Last Saturday, we did 8 pies, for 19 people - what a blast..

    Stanley K.

  • #2
    I build my initial fire just inside the entrance (6 o'clock behind the vent)once it is burning nicely ,I push it in to the middle.Just before i'm ready to move it to the side (when i have some nice red embers) I put a couple of good size logs on the side to get nice and hot so that they will ignite quickly when I move the embers onto them.I consider the oven ready when the dome is all white.I know at that point it's above 900 at the top of the dome.The middle of the floor is 580-600.I usually get to this point after about 90 minutes.my oven is approx 42 x 20.

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    • #3
      I use about 1 1/2 to 2 cu ft of dry oak for my fire. I start just behind the chimney, build it up until it's burning nicely and then keep adding wood from my little pile until it's all in there. Then I burn it down, push the coals to the side, add a log split and start cooking pizza.

      Check out my fire building photos at http://photos.yahoo.com/colonelcorn76

      Jim
      (Yea for Stan finishing & making his first pizza party!)

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      • #4
        I like to start the fire in the center of the oven, a little toward the front. When it is going well, I start to build the fire toward the sides and back. That way you get good flame coverage in the entire dome, and a nice bed of coals over most of the floor. I think that drives a lot of heat into the floor.

        I push my fire to the left and cook on the right. Which side is more popular -- and why? I'm left handed and wonder if that matters.

        James
        Pizza Ovens
        Outdoor Fireplaces

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        • #5
          Ditto (fire on the left).

          BTW, it's a mistake to keep the fire on both sides with a pizza in there unless pizza inferno is desired :-) I usually spray the top of a pie with olive oil (pump bottle) and a friend popped one in while we were experimenting with fire size & location and the olive oil burst into flame taking the whole pie with it in the time it took him to slide the peel out and start to hang it up on a hook hanging from the roof eave.

          Jim

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          • #6
            sounds like something from an episode of MacGyver ...
            my site for our pompeii and tandoor ovens
            www.killdawabbit.com

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            • #7
              A ton of coals

              hey all...does anyone ever remove coals from the oven prior to cooking? After I get the fire built and hot enough (I use the "white dome = ready" method), I seem to have a lot of coals...does anyone take a few scoops out?

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              • #8
                For pizza, the fire is pushed to one side, and kept going. For bread, the coals are removed (and put in a non-combustible covered container).
                My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2

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                • #9
                  My experience is that at times you have a lot of coals that want to spill into the area where you are cooking. I use a shovel and steel pail to get them out of the way, while leaving the hot stuff and burning wood in place. In the winter, I even took the hot coals into the fireplace in the house for heat. If you have an outdoor fireplace or wood coal grill you can use then that way.

                  If you have a larger oven, those coals are less of an issue. You just push everything to the side, and don't have to worry about it, because you just have more space to work with.

                  James
                  Pizza Ovens
                  Outdoor Fireplaces

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    i really need to get around to building a tool that will scrape or push the coals sideways, instead of scraping them front or back, like the scraper/brush tool does. it's always a pain in the ass to get the fire/coals situated as far over as possible.

                    i think i'll weld some angle iron or a flat piece of steel along a handle, instead of perpendicular to the handle like the other tool. has anyone made a tool like this?
                    -paul
                    overdo it or don't do it at all!

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                    • #11
                      Use a snowplow to push your coals

                      Originally posted by paulages
                      i really need to get around to building a tool that will scrape or push the coals sideways, instead of scraping them front or back, like the scraper/brush tool does. it's always a pain in the ass to get the fire/coals situated as far over as possible.

                      i think i'll weld some angle iron or a flat piece of steel along a handle, instead of perpendicular to the handle like the other tool. has anyone made a tool like this?
                      ================================================== ========

                      (M) Paul, consider a 45 degree angle. Theoretically you should be able to simply push straight forward to force the coals to the side. Conversely: pulling straight back on the handle should traps some coals if you have also have a piece of steel welded along the handle which joins the tip of your "coal plow".

                      (M) "Everything should be made as simple as possible, ...... but no simpler!"

                      Albert Einstein

                      Ciao,

                      Marcel
                      "Everything should be made as simple as possible, ...
                      but no simpler!" (Albert Einstein)

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                      • #12
                        A curved tool (Girabraci, or coal turner)

                        I am attaching a photo of a curved oven tool that works well with coals. Our Italian tool supplier doesn't make this particular one -- perhaps someone could build them in the states.

                        James
                        Attached Files
                        Pizza Ovens
                        Outdoor Fireplaces

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                        • #13
                          I just pick 'em up with my peel -- an aluminum 14" one. Works fine.

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                          • #14
                            ash storage

                            On one of my firings, I used my shovel to take a bunch of the burnt down coals out and put them into a steel bucket...the oven seemed to work a lot better - much better convection...but my problem was that the steel bucket i put the ashes in heated up to about a million degrees. anyone use anything different to put ashes in? I wonder if they make something like for tailgating??

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                            • #15
                              the only time it's a concern for me is when i'm ready to cook, and it's time to scoot the fire over to the side. i use a hoe to rough the fire over, but then there are all of the smaller bits to clear.

                              i was thinking of fabricating something like you mentioned, marcel. a "snowplow" type design.

                              james, that tool looks really easy to make. maybe i'll talk to my blacksmithing buddy and see if he would make a nice one for me.

                              jim, when you use your 14" peel, what do you do with the coals in the back? those are my main problem. the stragglers are not really hurting anthing back there, but i've been teaching other people how to make the pizzas, and they sometimes overshoot and hit some ash. this 1-2 o'clock position on the floor seems to be the hottest, also, so it's not a bad area to aim for.
                              -paul
                              overdo it or don't do it at all!

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